Return to Thuong Duc; A Southeast Asian Mystery

SEAArch - Southeast Asian Archaeology
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How exactly he was embalmed is somewhat of a mystery. The two statues have been through the wars, quite literally, and survived some bad spells of weather. This despite the fact that in a team from Vietnam Archaeology Institute and Vietnam History museum led by professor Nguyen Lan Cuong repaired the two statues.

As I leave Lai is reciting Buddhist scriptures by the monks, and while a watchful eye is necessary, further and regular preservation is also required to ensure these precious and mysterious mummies continue to stand the test of time. Categories: Vietnam.

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When Dr. James Braden decides to return to Vietnam twenty-five years after being wounded and nearly dying in the war, the last thing on his mind was that he. Return to Thuong Duc; A Southeast Asian Mystery - Kindle edition by Gary Cowart. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.

Advocates of faster reform for Vietnam essentially saw the years between the 9 th Party National Congress in and the 10 th Congress in as lost time. In spite of impressive economic growth and government successes in reducing poverty, the reformers increasingly perceived "the incremental and slow changes in politics as key impediments holding the country back, well behind faster-paced developments in China and elsewhere".

At the same time Vietnam's policy-making has more and more been influenced by inputs, including demands, from newly emerging social groups and shifting structures of influence within the state-party apparatus. Vietnam is still a unitary state, where a bureaucratic elite shapes policy-making. As part of the process towards more pluralism and the related changing decision-making dynamics within the state-party system, decisions made by the CPV politburo that once had the power of law are today authoritative only to a great extent, that is, not absolutely.

During its third session 6 May—7 June , the NA demonstrated its new assertiveness with regard to the Hanoi expansion plan. The plan envisages expanding the capital to 3. Although the NA eventually ratified the plan, several members had criticized "its poor planning and unclear implementation roadmap". A report by the NA's Legal Affairs Committee stated that while the government advocated the expansion to ensure Hanoi's social and economic development, it failed "to address the social and cultural impacts, especially on Ha Tay Province which would become part of the expanded Hanoi".

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Each artist has different ways of and left untouched for several months in a cool, dark, well-aired using lacquer to produce paintings, and some details are known place until the different elements of lacquer settle into three only to the artists themselves.

However, there are some features major layers.

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Only then does the sorting out begin. The uppermost layer is lacquer of the first stratum reddish brown lacquer ; it is least sticky, yellowish brown and limpid. The Board The resin is then filtered to completely remove all impurities, put into earthenware or ceramic jars, and continuously and evenly The artists buy the boards ready-made from suppliers.

They come stirred with bamboo or wooden sticks for several hours to get in a variety of sizes. The core of the board is made from plywood. The next layer is lacquer of the second stratum; it One layer of lacquer is applied to the plywood, which is left is stickier and of darker, yellowish-brown colour. Iron containers to dry. Next, thin cotton cloths soaked in clay are attached to should now be used. One must stir the resin with an iron rod both sides of the plywood. This process is per- then lacquer. The undermost stratum is very sticky and soft, formed five times. Layers of black lacquer are then applied, and of muddy yellow colour.

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It stiffens when dried out and is called the board is left to dry before being polished. Thus the final hom lacquer. It consists of several layers, is very resistant, and will not It should be noted that lacquer is not a harmless substance. It may warp Liquid lacquer is a common skin irritant and a cause of contact slightly due to these changes, but it is quite easy to straighten dermatitis, as well as being potentially carcinogenic. It becomes it again, as it remains flexible. Black lacquer stems from a chemical reaction between lacquer and iron, and results from stirring the lacquer with an iron rod for a few days.

Several shades of red are extracted from a naturally occurring red mineral, cinnabar mercuric sulfide. White is produced from eggshell. The eggshells are cleaned and sometimes even burned to obtain a brownish tinge. Most bright colours come from artificial dyes. Other Materials Several other materials may be used to make lacquer paintings, some of the most common being gold leaf and silver leaf. A thin layer of silver powder allows the black board to shine through and thus create a shade effect. Gold leaf is often applied as the final layer.

A range of other materials may also be used, such as shells, sand, epoxy and clay. Applying Colours and Lacquer My Thoughts, Making a lacquer painting is a long and arduous process. It may Lacquer, dyes, eggshell, silver powder and gold leaf on board take several weeks, depending on the specific technique of 40 x 40 cm the artist and how many layers of lacquer are included. It is important to keep in mind that the lacquer layers are painted and applied with uneven thickness so as to create an interesting array of interfaces and colours after the grinding and polishing is done.

Care The next two pages show one example by the artist Trinh Tuan. A lacquer painting is very durable. The painting can easily be polished elements only: a man, his thoughts and a bird. Some artists have by the palm of the hand to make it cleaner and more lustrous. The background is painted bright blue. The thoughts The thoughts are painted first with a layer The thoughts area is grinded and polished by are painted with black lacquer and silver powder of black and then with green lacquer. The man is painted with purple lacquer The background is painted bright blue and of the board due to its many layers.

The bird and and silver powder is applied to his body. A layer of black lacquer is added on top of the man. She originally trained as a ceramist at the Industrial Arts College in Hanoi where she graduated in Her interest in lacquer painting was nurtured in when she started studying the art from the master lacquer teacher Dang Ngoc Bach after years of experimenting with works on paper. The feminine edge associated with her paintings belies the complexity of her work. Her earlier art was informed by youthful experiments and exposure to ideas from the children in her art classes.

A very private person, she was born into a bourgeois family who were stripped of their wealth in However, education remained a priority for the family. Though born and raised in Hanoi, Cong Kim Hoa found her true voice as an artist away from the coldness of the city. Often retreating to the countryside, she has found inspiration there for her paintings, especially her earlier ones. Though Cong Kim Hoa has always revered the art of both her husband and brother, she successfully distanced herself and established her own career.

The sensitivity that flows through her paintings is filled with depth and detail; it is full of feeling and abundant with life.

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She approaches her lacquer painting with assurance. Arabesques of forms are interwoven in impromptu patterns with shots of colour that glow intermittently through silent hues. Her art is soft and silent - like gentle whispers. Cong Kim Hoa has recently started to produce paintings different from her work of previous years. A shrub, a flower or a window - they are rarely realistically described but are rather perceived through the sensations her art prescribes.

While her art might not instantly appear spontaneous, it is profound enough to entice the observer with unending awe. Her style continues to loosen and her use of colour has become richer and more vibrant, which she varies like the change of seasons. Amongst Vietnam Fine Arts Museum the pioneering group of emerging artists from the post Singapore Art Museum doi moi era, Dang Xuan Hoa has clearly benefited from the refor- National Art Gallery, Malaysia mation process that resulted in a new market economy and greater freedom of artistic expression.

His ability to poetically translate the years of hardship into an enlightened experience echoes the harmonious connection the artist feels with Vietnam. His maturity was naturally influenced through his friendship with cultural stalwarts such as senior painters Viet Hai and Nguyen Quan, and the writer Duong Tuong. From early in his career and ever since he has been exploring and delving deeper into his own personal cultural history. Early in his career, Dang Xuan Hoa disconnected himself from the stereotypes about art practice and the generalized cultural representation of Buddhist icons, still life or metaphorical images in expressive space.

Instead, he endeavored to come to grips with the depth, emotion and spirituality of the things around him, which he captures through the spirit of his personal artistic expression. Moving between his state of mind and intervals of reality, he constantly sketches life around him, moments that he translates onto his canvasses. His paintings are filled with the uni- versal language of humanism. This confidence of expression lies in the meditative spirit of his cultural psyche, which has allowed him to continually redefine the unique expression of his feelings and perceptions relating to his background.

His two-dimensional style of painting and use of the canvas for- mulate a view that is translated through his paintings. He is noted for his innovative style of painting b. On the glossy surfaces of his paintings, Singapore Art Museum Dinh Quan expresses himself freely, addressing large and narrow National Art Gallery, Malaysia spaces with a wealth of emotion through the sensuous female forms that resonate with the love and beauty of the legendary nymphs in the rich oral mythology passed down to him by his elders during his childhood. Dinh Quan was born in the port city of Haiphong.

His humble upbringing was typical of most Vietnamese, one subjected to poverty with little place for intellectual discourse. Tradi- tional aesthetics associated with local festivals festooned with colour and with pagodas that were custodians of a wealth of artifacts, together with their rich mythology, became an early inspiration for his aspirations to become an artist.

Art was con- sidered a frivolous and unproductive career choice at the time. Supporting himself through much of his years as an art student at the Hanoi Fine Arts University where he was enrolled in the Lacquer Department, Dinh Quan encountered many financial obstacles.

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But through his art and his continuous desire to seek perfection and truth, Dinh Quan remains one of the most in- spiring artists and lacquer painters of his time, and his artistic journey remains an enlightened one. Like a true artist, he works with passion. On his trademark large lacquer paintings, he works with limpid and fluid strokes that are determined by his emotions.

While his multi-paneled lacquer paintings evoke grandeur, his art displays his personal connection to his Viet- namese roots. Painting with ease and devoid of preconceived ideas, Dinh Quan often starts painting with a central image - be it a young girl or a horse -- and then with an attentiveness to the beauty of nature, he builds his compositions with spiraling strokes that are splendidly flamboyant in colour and contrast. And through the layers of lacquer, which are defined by textures, his lacquer paintings become alive with a subtle depth of memory, emotion and spirituality.

Dinh Quan also paints with oil on large canvases, although he is best known for his innovative lacquer paintings. Through these very open expressions of emotion in his lacquer paintings, Dinh Quan shares his inspiring journey of self-discovery and spiritual enrichment as part of a never-ending continuum. First of all, what are we actually looking at? For there Singapore Art Museum appears to be no correlation between the artist and the female National Art Gallery, Malaysia subjects she creates.

Her indepen- dent style, rendered almost always in monotones of black and white with colour being used very sparingly, is quite unique in Vietnamese contemporary art.

Southeast Asian | The Way of Rak-Urushi-Asian Lacquer.

The confidence of her volatile brushstrokes fills her figures with character and emotion. Each of her paintings adds to this form of expression. Dinh Y Nhi was born in Hanoi and grew up with art. Her siblings are highly regarded in Vietnamese art circles. Her obvious introduction to art was through her father, and his influence on Dinh Y Nhi is best observed in her early landscape paintings that bear a similar limpid style to his own. At the college Dinh Y Nhi had typically studied the principles of gouache painting, with black and white generally used for sketching. For Dinh Y Nhi, this was obviously an early inspiration as her first works were drawings in black and white.

Her ability to layer the two primary colours results in a wide variation of darkness and light that is rich in its mood. Figures and shapes are sketched with abandon and at times liberally washed in gray. The austerity of her palette is augmented by her broken and uncoordinated arrangement of figures.

However, the most striking aspect of her aesthetic is its expressive nature and the fortitude with which she expresses the emotions of her figures. Surreal forms of gaunt and ghostly figures, rigidly shad- owed, display an ethos that is a profound display of maturity for a young artist like Dinh Y Nhi.

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There seem to be no regular food inspections from the Health Department. Prior to this, he has had a stint with Highbrow — An Audio-visual technology solutions provider for events and also has worked as technical director at IDSPL — a leading audio-visual and lighting systems integrator based out of Delhi — where he has extended his design and execution capabilities in facilitating a number of successful AV projects including sound and light shows. The death of her Staffanstorp Art Hall, Sweden father when she was nine years old interrupted the flow of her childhood dreams, for it was her father who had recognized her artistic talent and encouraged her to study art at the age of seven. This dialogue is long overdue. For simplicity, all aircraft references hereinafter employ that system , CDR J. Redesignated: CV, 29 Apr While her art might not instantly appear spontaneous, it is profound enough to entice the observer with unending awe.

Her work is a meditation on emotion and its negotiation of the space and life around it, reflecting the wide-ranging materiality of culture. Dinh Y Nhi has sought to stimulate the experience of emotion and invites the viewer to cross the line between the commonplace and the exceptional. A highly accomplished painter, Hong Viet Dung is known for his humble demeanor that is reflected in the tranquility of his paint- ings. Since he started his artistic practice, Hong Viet Dung has never veered from his subject. He is renowned for his Zen-like landscapes, heavily brushed fields of muted colour that seem to quietly pulse and shift.

There is always a representation of gentle motion. His translation of colour and space is smooth and unobtrusive. It appears that colour is the purest form of expression for Hong Viet Dung. In the purest form of abstract reality, colours are like musical notes. It is with colour and space that the artist creates the symphonies of landscapes that are enlightening experiences for the viewer.

It features verdant forests and bamboo hedges, sometimes with figures moving through the gentle light. Hong Viet Dung paints confidently in silence, oblivious to public opinion. Hong Viet Dung is best known for his landscapes painted in oils. Hong Viet Dung has demonstrated that the strength of a painting is not dependent on the number of images and details or the state of surface texture, as in abstract painting.

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By means of a simplicity that characterizes loneliness, Hong Viet Dung is able to express richness and charm. He uses yellow as a dominant colour - a colour that varies in an array of hues. Through articulate brushstrokes and detailing, his canvasses glimmer and glow with sophisticated light, all rendered in a single colour. The multiplicity of his paintings is evident in the figures that move through his art.

They are not states of transition, but in actuality meticulously studied and expressed with acute emotion. It may be a pensive face, a melancholy hand holding a lotus leaf or pampering a small bird. His art is enriched with humanism and emotions in an old-fashioned manner. Whether Hong Viet Dung is qualified to delve deeper into his emotions and ultimately express them through his paintings remains an unan- swered question.

They wonder about who b. They speculate about his prominence Bachelor of Fine Arts Museum collections: and his forceful artistic vocabulary. In a time when his contem- Singapore Art Museum poraries are poetically filling their canvasses with a sophisticated Fukuoka Asian Art palette of colours, Le Quang Ha has in contrast chosen a path that Museum, Japan exceeds conventional aesthetics. Le Quang Ha was born in Hanoi. Though his message is straightforward, Le Quang Ha is a complex artist. A man with an exceptionally strong personality and with an abundance of nervous energy, Le Quang Ha is a solitary figure, for he is less of an artist who pleases or mystifies his audience than one who indulges them in the process of exposing truths.

Ironically, the visual language of his early paintings in the s was filled with romanticism - visual symphonies of a beautiful woman embracing maybe a solitary bloom, a youth lost in thought or loving couples engrossed in intimate conversation. Often the amorous mood of his compositions would be embellished with foliage and colours that subtly suggested flirtatious passion. But this lyrical language did not last long.

Instead, he expressed a new understanding in his art, one that demanded attention to the reality of disorder. One might say that his art derives from the existential nature of being, where he isolates objects and images drawn from the material world and transforms them into a cynical system of visual forms. The duality of this reflective consciousness could be visualized through an image of a very old tree, ghostlike, its intermingled branches stripped of beauty and life.

Obese women shamelessly display sagging breasts or physically grotesque men are clad in official garb. It is through this deliberate negativity blotched with deformation that Le Quang Ha has found his oeuvre. It is in the realm of this personal inner conflict of the artist where one may discover the depths of realism. Le Quang Ha shares affinities with the Chinese contem- porary writers Wei Hui and Mo Yan, who express similar concerns about modern society in which the corrupting nature of economic wealth and power has collided with truth and integrity.

And to the extent that his art remains as much a mystery and as critical as he is, it is the inevitable product of a society in need of exposing its reverse side. Vietnamese art is in need of a Le Quang Ha as a critical counterbalance to some of the overly romantic and pleasing art that is being created and sold. Luong Xuan Doan is more than an artist. He is regarded as a Renaissance man in Vietnamese art circles. A man with a unique view of life through art, Luong Xuan Doan, through his efforts in building a bridge between artists and the government bureaucracy, has been indispensable largely through his under- standing of the need to protect the voice of artistic expression.

He is also a writer, but remains first of all an artist. His oil paintings of the s and early s are filled with memories of the war at Truong Son, where many young lives were sacrificed for the love of the nation. It is his belief that art is merely a means of expression and a communication between the past and the present.

Gentle tones, often green, intoned the sadness. This surreal backdrop to his art was often translated as religious art. Luong Xuan Doan is acutely sensitive to people and the integration of art and his social conscience has been the key to his noble manner. He accords the same detailed atten- tion to all his work, regardless of size. This could partly be through the influence of the senior painter, Luong Xuan Nhi, his uncle, or from his admiration of works by Matisse. Apart from painting, Luong Xuan Doan is a noted graphic artist and regularly illustrates covers for poets and writers.

The artist is renowned for his paintings on do and xuyen paper, mainly using Chinese ink and watercolours. His lines are soft and fluid and at times witty. The translucency of the Chinese ink or watercolours on the delicate paper projects a sensuality that is as detailed as a breath of air or the divine taste of a delicacy. Nguyen Thanh Binh is seen as an individualist who expresses his unique view of life through his art. Although at the start of his career Nguyen Thanh Binh worked closely with a group comprising mostly abstract artists, he never allowed himself to be influenced by anyone.

In opposition to the avant-garde of his generation and the taste of the contemporary, Nguyen Thanh Binh chose to paint compositions detail-laden with the same sentiment that describes his own temperament. Nguyen Thanh Binh is best known for graceful figures of school- girls in white ao dai dresses, ballet dancers and musicians - subjects that he renders in organized and strong compositions.

Schoolgirls, young mothers asleep alongside contented babies and children playing their musical instruments are amongst the subjects that Nguyen Thanh Binh creates as part of his peaceful and dreamy world, featuring an ideal existence rather than real life. Life around him provides him with an unending muse. And like a composer, Nguyen Thanh Binh is able to play variations upon variations on the same theme.

His instruments are his colours, which are endlessly orchestrated with serenity, making his paintings timeless and intimate. On his canvasses, the artist creates rhythm through his ability to reduce space to modeled forms like the sandy beaches or stages that quietly recede to the background.

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A sense of reverence is inferred as the artist invites the viewer to focus on the rhythmic movements of his dancers or to experience the melancholy music of his performers. Although he has obviously studied a wide range of European artistic styles and media, none of them are evident in his style of painting, for he has never allowed himself to be influenced by them. Often painting deliberately with a limited palette, the artist is able to capture fleeting moments of movement through gentle and singular brushstrokes.

Born in Soc b. The horrors of war, which dominated South Bassano del Grappa Fine Arts Vietnam for twenty years, allowed very narrow avenues for art Museum, Italy to develop. Against this backdrop, Nguyen Trung spent much of this time avoiding precariously dangerous situations and explo- sive chaotic locales. However, his aspiration for a peaceful and reunified country was relentless as was his strong will to strive for artistic perfection regardless of the circumstances.

But in such circumstances they only hold in esteem those who stay and continue to paint instead of fleeing the country. His efforts have singularly paved the way for Vietnamese abstract art.